The world might be breathlessly counting down the number of shopping days until Christmas, but for radio listeners everywhere, early December also means reconnecting with two fabled opera houses in New York and Milan.
With the opening of the new radio broadcast season of the Metropolitan Opera of New York on Saturday, 3 December, the EBU can look back on over 25 years of bringing the productions of one of the world’s greatest theatres to its Members and Associates. Euroradio can point with pride to making the “Met” a household word to millions of listeners throughout Europe and well beyond, long before the HD live transmissions to cinemas throughout the world had even been thought of.
This year's season opener brings Sir Richard Eyre's production of Giacomo Puccini's "Manon Lescaut", with the stunning Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and the Argentine lyric tenor Marcelo Alvarez as the star-crossed lovers. Full information on the live broadcast available to EBU radio organizations, including cast photos and audio excerpts, can be found in MUS under MET/2016-2017/001.
Puccini also headlines La Scala’s opening night on 7 December with "Madama Butterfly". Maria José Siri and Bryan Hymel star as the Japanese geisha and the US Navy lieutenant, forming a passionate couple doomed to be separated by very different cultures.
The choice to revive the work's original reconstructed 1904 version, in place of the three-act "Madama Butterfly" known the world over, represents La Scala's continuing quest to reacquaint Milan audiences with works by major composers that originally premiered there.
EBU Member RAI is offering this eagerly awaited event, as much an international music happening as one of the “musts” of the Italian social season, to all Euroradio broadcasters for live or deferred transmission. All details can be found in MUS under EURO/2016-2017/OI/006.
Incidentally, if you are wondering why La Scala opens its season each year on the same date, the answer is simple: 7 December is the feast day of Milan’s patron saint, Ambrose (ca 340-397), who served as the city’s bishop. Tradition assigns him a leading role in the development of early Church music, and Ambrosian chant is still part of the liturgy at the city’s enormous cathedral, the Duomo, just a short distance away from La Scala.